It seems that every year the Sweetheart Brunch breaks new ground, but the 22nd edition made new records. The event manages to serve an average of 1,200 in just three and a half hours, and the aim is to make between $20,000 and $25,000 for local charities. But 2020 was a bumper year for the Sweetheart Brunch: over $30,000 was taken in this time.
This is a real achievement by the Knights of Columbus Council 5333, the many, many volunteers, the sponsors, and, of course, the people of the community who came out in such large numbers to the Municipal Centre to enjoy the food, the music, the 50’50 draw, and all the other elements that go into making the Sweetheart Brunch the great occasion it is.
The funds raised will help many local organisations throughout the year, including Kemptville District Hospital, Beth Donovan Hospice, Ryan’s Well Foundation, Kemptville District Home Support, Scouts Canada, Jumpstart, Victory Time Therapeutic Riding, and more. Other recipients may be identified during the year also.
This year, the Brunch was held in memory of Pat Maloney, a man who had been such a central part of the Sweetheart Brunch over many years. An M.C., a singer of songs and a teller of tales, Pat was much loved and is much missed in North Grenville and beyond, and the record amount raised to support his friends and neighbours is a great memorial to the man.
This year’s event also allowed others to promote their cause, as they set up booths along the hallway, having something of a captive audience as people lined up, waiting for their turn to find a seat at a table in the Community Rooms.
One of those causes, as described by Jim McManaman, who has been with the Brunch from the beginning, is the Coats for Kids. This year, the Ontario Knights of Columbus have adopted the Coats for Kids campaign, the aim of which is to provide good quality coats to those who need them during the year. The goal is to supply 10,000 coats in Ontario over the next two to three years. Many cases of coats in various colours and sizes were ordered by the Knights and they are available now on their Facebook page. At the Sweetheart Brunch, they set up a big coat rack so that people waiting in line could see the Coats for Kids, and be inspired to support the initiative.
The Sweetheart Brunch continues to be one of the great successes of the voluntary sector in North Grenville. Twenty-two years on, it has continued to grow and receive the enthusiastic support of the community. Congratulations to all on a record year.